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The top tax bracket may be squealing this week, with the Dow Jones down more than 18 percent from the year’s high. But according to the Economic Policy Institute’s latest real-world economic analysis, they’ve got little to fear.
CEO pay is now 116 times the pay of an average worker, and average CEO compensation has doubled since 1989. The richest one percent pay, on average, $36,710 less in taxes than they did in 1977; they also now own nearly 40 percent of all wealth in the country. Meanwhile, despite seven years of economic growth, real wages for most Americans have only begun to recover. Real wage gains over the last two years haven’t yet wiped out a decade-long decline; the average American makes less now than in 1989. And despite constant proclamations of economic prowess, the United States still has the highest poverty rates-and the most unequal distribution of wealth-in the developed world.

The figures are from the sixth edition of the State of Working America, which EPI releases on Labor Day every other year. The book puts macroeconomic reality into context, explaining what economic policies and trends mean for regular working stiffs. “We’re interested not just in how the economy is doing overall, but [its] impact on working families,” explains author Jared Bernstein. The book will be released by Cornell University Press in January. Pre-press copies are now available by calling 1-800-EPI-4844.

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